Resident Evil 5 features similar gameplay to Resident Evil 4 utilizing the same over the shoulder view. The game's environment also plays a significant role. The Mercenaries minigame, which was featured in both Resident Evil 3: Nemesis and Resident Evil 4, also made a return.
This game only has 2 types of herbs, Red and Green. Previous games had Green, Red and Blue. Resident Evil 4 had removed blue and replaced it with the Yellow Herb. Healing items vary from Herbs, the First Aid Spray and Eggs (the Rotten Egg, an exception.) Using herbs and sprays allows you to heal both you and your partner, but you must be near them.
The player is now dependent on the second player (or A.I.) more than in older games. When the player or partner's health bar drop down to 0, he/she will enter the DYING stage, where the health bar will flash red and gradually lower as you prolong in this stage. In this case he/she must either be healed or resuscitated by the other using the "Partner Action" Button (B on Xbox 360, O on PS3). If the player or partner does not have any healing items when rescuing the other, the health will be stabilized at 10%. If both characters reach the DYING stage or fail to rescue the other, the game is over.
The player and partner also need to work together in some parts, like kicking down a heavy metal door, pulling switches, or freeing their partner from the enemy's grasp before they are killed. The player can give out commands when playing solo or with a partner by the same "Partner Action" button.
The game also has a vast selection of firearms. Handguns, shotguns, machine guns, rifles, magnums and the knife also return with wider selections (along weapons unique to certain characters.) The knife retains its usefulness, but since Majinis are much more intelligent compared to the Ganado, killing them with the knife is much more difficult as they are fast, don't get stunned easily, react much faster and can surround the player's characters easily. To counter this, finding ammo is not as hard as it was in the previous games.
Since the Merchant is absent from this game, it is replaced with a shop that comes up at the beginning of every chapter or when a player restarts or dies after passing a checkpoint. In the shop, you cannot buy ammo except for the Grenade Launcher which fires different types of rounds. Also, you can't buy any healing items other than the First Aid Spray. Similar to the Tactical Vest in Resident Evil 4, a returning feature is that you can buy a Melee Vest which halves every physical attacks dealt to the character wearing it, and a Bulletproof Vest which halves every firearm-related damage to the character wearing it (any ranged attack). Both can be worn at the same time, but takes space in the inventory individually.
Inventory in the game is different from the previous game. This time, the inventory is a 3x3 grid which carries 9 items at once, and each item takes only one inventory space. Ammo and grenades picked up are now organized in stacks (in quantity) of 5, instead of random placement, again unlike Resident Evil 4 and similar to the old-school Resident Evil games. Opening the inventory is now in real-time (similar to Outbreak) so the player can get damaged if there are enemies nearby. Items placed in the inventory are assigned to a specific button (for example, the numpad in the PC version) for easy item management. The console versions supports 4 shortcuts for the items in the directional pad, these shortcuts being up, down, left, and right, respectively.
Online gameplay is also included. 2 Players may not only work together playing through the chapters, but also in The Mercenaries. An offline co-op is also included, with 2 players playing through split screen (which was the reason why Sheva was made left-handed.) A new type of online gameplay was introduced which was the Versus Mode (DLC, also included in Resident Evil 5 Gold Edition.) In this mode, characters battle each other while Majinis and other enemies occasionally enter into the fray. 4 players can join this mode, at maximum.
Many changes came about during the development of Resident Evil 5. There were changes from previous games, and many new ideas were scrapped.
- Very early trailers portrayed Chris in a survival commando-like costume, using a form of 1911 pistol and a version of the Silver Ghost outfitted with a compensator. These were scrapped, save for the skeletal work of the Chris model.
- The S100 never appears in the game, nor does it appear to be a real firearm.
- In some early trailers, the M3 appeared with pistol grip and short barrel. In the final game, it had a pistol grip and full stock with a full length barrel and magazine tube.
- The SIG 556 was originally the FN SCAR or a similar rifle, although limited footage makes identification difficult.
- In addition to the grenade, flame, and acid rounds traditionally used in Resident Evil games, the grenade launcher can also use liquid nitrogen and electric rounds.
- Very early trailers showed Chris battling Majini alone, whilst in the final game he meets Sheva immediately after the game starts, before any combat takes place.
- In one trailer, the Chainsaw Majini was portrayed as the Executioner Majini, as the Chainsaw Majini was seen swinging the Executioner Majini's giant ax in the trailer.
- Aim for the weak spots: in higher difficulties (or when starting a new game from scratch), you'll often find yourself lacking ammo. Since Majini are more resilient than Ganados, they can withstand more shots before dying. For that reason it's good to use Reaction Commands often. Leg Back Melees are especially useful as they may prevent Plagas from emerging.
- Quick-Reload: since in Resident Evil 5 opening the inventory menu doesn't pause the game, one can quickly-reload instead of doing the manual way (aim button + interact button); simply open the inventory, move the specific ammo with the action button (X on Xbox and Square on PS3) and combine it with your gun. For weapons with slow reload speed (such as some Magnums and Shotguns), it's especially useful. Takes some time and practice to learn to do it fast, but certainly pays off, specially on higher difficulties or The Mercenaries minigames.
- A good way to make full use of the Quick-Reload trick is to use it during a Melee Attack, as their animations are often long enough for the player to do it, and since the character is invincible during those moves, it's safe enough (can be done during any animation: climbing, dropping off a roof, picking up ammo etc...)
- You can also Quick-Reload while reloading. e.g. Quick-Reload your Sniper Rifle while manually reloading your Shotgun.
- Reload Interrupt: an alternate way to reload your weapons faster is to use the reload interrupt trick, where you can break the reloading animation by using a Melee attack. To perform the trick, simply shoot the enemy in any Melee Prompt Area and run close to the enemy. Press the reload command (aim + interact button) and quickly press the action button to cancel the reload animation and use the Melee attack. Notice that despite cancelling the animation, your weapon will be reloaded. This trick reduces your reload by 30% to 80% depending on the weapon.
- Quick Aim/Turn: by holding down the right analog stick to any direction and pressing the aim button, your character will instantly turn to that direction holding the aim. This trick can be specially useful during tight situations where you're surrounded, as turning around is slow; this is only available to those using control schemes A or B, as schemes C and D have the right analogue stick function differently.
- Invincibility Frames: picking items from the floor, climbing/kicking/lifting ladders, climbing platforms, dodging enemy attacks with context buttons, rescuing/saving your partner and using Melee prompt attacks all leave you invincible for a few seconds. Those are called "Invincibility Frames," which are when your character is performing actions that enemies cannot harm the player in. Use that to your advantage to escape tight situations. Notable invincibility frame actions are; Melee Prompt Actions, picking up ammo/items, and climbing/jumping down.
- Additionally, you're also invincible when receiving damage from enemies (attacks that stun or knockdown the character), and also when breaking from enemy grabs. However, you're still vulnerable while being held by the enemy.
- During the first fight with Wesker on chapter 5-3, the act of throwing Jill when she's being held gives you invincibility frames. Remember, you're not invincible while holding her.
Offline/Single Player Tips
- While in combat, always keep the Partner in "Cover" mode, so he/she will always stay close and assist you more often. Change to "Attack" while fighting bosses or after clearing an area, as in this mode the Partner acts more independently and will often search around for items.
- While the Partner's A.I. is limited, it possesses a surprisingly accurate aim, to the point of taking down enemies in long distance (that would require Sniper Rifles) using a Handgun. However, the Partner uses his/her ammo quite excessively, and since the Handgun ammo is more common, it's advised to keep him/her with a Handgun as their primary weapon.
- It's a good idea to use the Partner as a "Personal Bank," giving him/her spare ammo and herbs for you own weapons in case your inventory is full. The A.I. is quite intelligent and will give you the ammo when you're running low, or give you Red Herbs if you already have a Green Herb in possession.
- If you both lack a communication device (or chose to not use), make sure you can communicate properly with the Partner Action Button.
- Use the Partner Action Button with moderation. For example, spamming the "Follow" command can be quite annoying.
- Additionally, always be polite and thank your Partner when he/she helps you, either with items or assists. Complimenting after scoring a Perfect Headshot or performing Chain Melees is good too.
- Try to keep close to your Partner, specially in higher difficulty modes. That way you can assist him/her in case of a grab or save from DYING status.
- You can also use the "Send Out" command and pull your gun to use the laser aim if you want to tell your Partner to go to a specific point.
- Always pay attention to your partner. If you two happen to separate, make sure you use the Partner Locate Button (RB on Xbox and L1 on PS3) in order to know where he/she is.
- It's good to check his/her inventory once in a while to see if your Partner need anything (or if you need anything from him/her).
- Make sure you and the Partner cover each other in tight situations. Majinis are fast will quickly surround the players in order to flank them: covering your partner's blindspot will allow a more efficient crowd control.
- Cover your partner's weaknesses. It's a good idea to equip weapons he's lacking, that way you can take down specific enemies more easily.
- Make sure both you and the Partner are equipped with a Shotgun, to allow a more efficient crowd control or to stun more easily enemies like Big Man Majini, Giant Majini and Gatling Gun Majini.
- Try to time your shots with your partner if you're trying to use Melee attacks. A stunned enemy can have his stun broke if he receives another shot in a non-stun area.
- Additionally, try to assist your partner in Chain Melees. Not only they are incredibly powerful, but will often hit other enemies as well.
- If you and your partner build a good synergy, it's possible to quickly dispatch enemies with reaction commands: while one shoots the weak spot, the other quickly moves and deliver the attack. It's also possible for both to hit the enemy with Melees at the same time, doubling the damage. However, if both hit an Arm or Leg stunned enemy at the same time, they will not be able to proceed with the chain.
- Infinite Money Exploit: This exploit is also called "Rotten Egg Glitch," because it usually involves duplicating the Rotten Eggs (which is the most valuable non-treasure item in the game, selling for 2000 gold each), but works with any item. This exploit requires two controllers and two gamertags, and is performed as followed:
- Play the game till finding at least 1 Rotten Egg;
- Deposit everything but the Rotten Egg and go to Chapter 2-1 (or any Chapter where there are no enemies at the start);
- Sign into a second controller on a gamertag with Resident Evil 5 data and press join the game;
- Click ready on both controllers;
- Give Sheva the egg, then quit and save on both files;
- Repeat step 5, except ths time give Chris the egg(s) on Sheva, then quit again, but this time and press A to save on Chris and B to not save on Sheva;
- Keep repeating step 5 until satisfied: giving Chris the egg and quitting;
- Each character can have up to 45 eggs in their inventory, selling a total of 90.000 gold.
- Infinite Money Exploit cont.: This exploit can be performed online, via a friend/agreement, as it takes advantage of the game's saving system.
- Load up stage 2-1.
- Invite your friend/agreed duplicating partner.
- Give them all your Rotten Eggs in the store before loading in.
- Load in, and have them pass all the eggs back.
- They quit, without saving.
- Activate a quicksave, via going through the red door to the next checkpoint.
- Pause and restart, repeat until satisfied.
- Item Steal Exploit: This infamous exploit involves hosting a game and kicking the partner as soon they join to steal their items. Requires two controllers, and is performed as followed:
- Host a game on any chapter;
- Wait till a player join the game;
- Turn on the second controller and kick the other player;
- Press start on the second controller and join with no gamertag;
- You will be taken back to the Item Management screen;
- Notice that the other player's items will be on the character.
- Enemy Freeze Glitch: This graphical glitch involves killing an enemy while using reaction commands, more specifically the Back Leg Stun. It doesn't affect gameplay or the characters in any way, and is performed as followed:
- Stun an enemy in the leg;
- Run behind him and use the Back Leg Stun Melee (must be a move that involves grabbing the enemy, such as Chris' Neck Break, Sheva's Throat Slit, Jill's Head Grab, Josh's Suplex and Excella's First Aid);
- Right before the character grabs the enemy for the Leg Stun Melee, have the other character to hit the enemy with a knockback attack (like a Shotgun fire or Front Leg Stun Melee). The timing is strict, the enemy must be knocked in the exact moment the first character grabs him;
- If done correctly, the enemy will either freeze while standing still (happens mostly with Majinis wielding shields) or fall on the ground, but frozen as well. After a few seconds the enemy will just dissolve like usual.